How To Find Your Distant Cousins / Living Relatives 123 People Search
While building your family tree, the traditional genealogy research process normally begins by starting with yourself and your parents, and then gradually progressing generation by generation into the past. Then, when you hit a roadblock in that process, the best way to go ahead is by reversing the process, i.e. start seeking the present – and not pursuing the past.
Yep! Try looking for previously unknown living relatives / distant cousins.
How – you might ask? Well, death notices and newspaper obituaries usually include names of the deceased’s children and grandchildren, synagogue / church / mosque membership, place of burial. And official certificates of death often list place of burial and name a contact who may be a child of the deceased.
Be aware when your relative’s death occurred. If they’ve died early in the twentieth century, their children listed in the obituary as survivors are probably deceased themselves. You could try writing or sending an email to the cemeteries requesting more information, as they may be able to provide to you the name of the relative who purchased the burial plot and they may also give you the names of living descendants.
Your search for obituaries can be assisted on several different web sites. Recent deaths notices are available on Legacy.com, where you can search by US newspaper or the deceased’s name. Older death notices can be found through the Google News Archives site. And the US Library of Congress has a free searchable online database of hundreds of newspapers, starting in 1880.
Several online address and telephone directories may also give you data you’ll need to contact your newly discovered distant relatives (here at Investigations 123), and a Sample People Search Report is provided below.
Once you know your relatives’ names, professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com and social networking sites such as Facebook.com will help you contacting them through their own internal messaging tools.
In searching for your living relative, you may have other clues that can help your search, such as hobbies or associations your distant cousin was involved with. You might start looking for possible associations through a directory such as www.asaecenter.org. Here you can enter keywords such as “carpenter” or “lawyer” and find potential associations for your relatives search. Happy hunting (from the comfort of your couch)!